So….what are you afraid of?
Death perhaps? Public speaking? Sex? Losing your job, your spouses, siblings, parents or…..perhaps your virginity? A plague of spiders….snakes….mice….rats….or any number of hissing insects? Or that sickening horrible claustrophobic fear of being buried alive.
Afraid of the dark?
Paralyzed or maddened by a feat of heights.
A sudden knock on the door from the Internal Revenue Service or the Secret Police?
You are always hiding something after all. There are closets and little spaces in your mind where the dark things lurks. Where the monsters crawl from and cast their frightening shadows.
Or it could something even more totality unreasonable.
A fear of music perhaps, or a career anthropology.
A fear of certain prime numbers (some Italians suffer from this).
There are so many fears. Too many to name.
Even writers block is a fear, sometimes I think I suffer from that. That could be part of it lately…but mostly I suppose it’s laziness.
So….what are you afraid of? There is always something you have to confront whether you are able of willing to admit to it. So think about that. Think about those things as I bring the shadows of the monster to light.
In past week or two, not just in the real life, but also in the sporting life, fear has arisen and has made it startling crawl and fearful ramble towards us.
A lot of sports fans, I think overlook the role fear plays in sports. They probably, maybe, know it’s there….but it’s not really thought about much and it’s discussed even less. But despite real things to be afraid of, like the ongoing fuckmuppetry of the current USA! USA!! USA!!! President and his so-called Administration; and now just a day ago as I being to hammer this out on my Adler J-5, The Facking Prime Minister of England and It’s Satellite/Captive Countries has called for new elections with 3 years of the term to go. So fear is among us, as always. But I’m not going on about those two wanker and their bollocks.
I’m talking about sports.
So let’s start with this little gem:
In the aftermath of his side’s defeat at the hands of West Ham last weekend, a visibly frustrated Paul Clement suggested the Swansea cause had not been helped by the fact his players were paralyzed by anxiety and fear.
I’ll talk about this in more detail in a little bit, but this talk about fear in the context of football….and especially in the context of Swansea FC….got me thinking a bit about the role and impact fear has in sports.
Especially in light of what happened in Dortmund this past week (at the time this sentence was written).
On April 11th, the Borussia Dortmund players gathered at their team hotel where they all meet before their home matches. They got on their team bus and started what has always been a routine trip to the Westfalenstadion, to play Monaco in their first of two home/away quarterfinal fixtures of the Champions League against Monaco.
But not on this day.
As they pulled out of the hotel parking and headed up the block to make their first turn, three bombs went off.
It was (it appeared) a terrorist attack. The bus was damaged by the impact of the blasts and some of that debris was flung into the bus. The players ducked for cover. Defensive back Marc Bartra was hit by debris and suffered cuts and broken arm. The other players were not injured. It was sheer luck no one was killed.
Meanwhile, 81000+ fans were awaiting the team’s arrival.
UEFA officials cancelled the match, but due to (so-called)schedule restraints, could only postpone it ’til the next day. Imagine having to get on that team bus the day after this attack and do it all over again! Paul Clement whinged about this Swansea players being paralyzed by anxiety and fear…but how about Die Schwarzgelben?? This was not some routine Bundesliga match Borussia was playing….this was playoff football….the Champions League Quarterfinals….a contest that could lead them, in essence, to The Super Bowl of Europe.
True to their team motto, Echte Liebe, which means True Love….Dortmund fans banded together and offered up their homes and spare beds and rooms to Monaco fans who were stuck in Dortmund because they were originally going to fly/drive back to Monaco and vicinity after the match.
So the match teed off the next day w/o incident. And Monaco won 2-3. Dortmund were roundly applauded by Monaco and Dortmund fans alike.
But can you fucking imagine what Aubemeyang, and Rues, and Castro, and Dembele, and Pulisic and the rest were feeling? How could they focking even PLAY a match, let alone be competitive after what they went through??
How could Roman Bürki have the concentration and will stop a penalty shot at the 17th minute?? He was the one who was sitting next to Bartra when Bartra got hit by the debris from the blast. It could have been Bürki that was hit had he and Bartra switched places on the bus.
After what Dortmund went through, and played the match they did, I will SPIT on ANY team that professes to be paralyzed by Fear and Anxiety. I would even spit on Chelsea if they or their gaffer ever drags the Blue Flag though vales of shit by uttering such a remark.
Dortmund went the following Wednesday to Monaco to play the 2nd leg of the draw at the Stade Louis II. Monaco ran out 3-1 winners and Dortmund was eliminated the Champions League 6-3 on aggregate. I honestly thought that Dortmund had a solid shot of going to the final.
But that attack on April 11th pretty much put paid to that thought.
A terrorist attack, allegedly.
There were some notes found that scene claiming Islamic Extremists were the culprit.
But I wracked my brain trying to come up with a “Why Dortmund??” reason for that. Targeting by those worthless focks are generally more high profile. And while Dortmund has a storied 108 year history as one of the top teams in Germany, I can think of one German team off the top of my head with a much higher profile than Dortmund.
As it turned out, the real culprit was just as evil as aterrorist, and perhaps even more non-nonsensical.
Borussia Dortmund was attacked so some little shit-turd could make some money.
Dortmund is the only German football club to float shares of stock on the stock market. The little worthless fuck, a German/Russian by the name of Sergei W bought a whole bunch of put-options on Dortmund’s stock. Then he conceived this little terrorist attack scheme hoping to kill or damage the entire team so their stock price would drop precipitously. He was counting on the price dropping well below the price on his put option. He would then sell at a higher price than the underlying stock was worth and he’d scutter off into oblivion with a whole bunch of €€€ in his liederhosen.
What he was not counting on was that German stock market, bank, and financial regulators and journalists were already investigating the put-options since Dortmund stock is so rarely traded. Buying so many put-options on it was highly irregular and unusual.
So there you have it. Terrorism motivated by greed. 23 counts of attempted murder? Hang him high for each and every count. My true love can only go so far.
Really, now. What IS Gylfi Sigurðsson afraid of?
That won’t harm him much since I can think of at least 50, 70 clubs who would happily come to the rescue and relieve him of THAT anxiety.
Jesus anyway….he’s one of the best midfielders around, a set-piece specialist and a precision long-range shooter and led Iceland to their funny and ha ha defeat of England in the 2014 Euro’s.
It’s all asinine beyond belief. To think that Swansea’s gaffer Paul Clement can say that those poor lads….the likes of Gylfi Sigurðsson, Leroy Fer, Martin Olsson, Kyle Naughton, Lukas Fabianski, Fernando Llorente, Tom Carroll, Wayne Routledge and the rest are paralyzed by fear, when Borussia Dortmund’s Marc Bartra is recovering from injuries suffered in a terrorist attack and his teammates have to suck it up and play on regardless, and play well, and the have. It’s flummery, Swansea…bollocks.
Swansea and their gaffer are all a bunch of wallys and tossers and deserve to go down. Down to the Championship…down where Cardiff City and the Tractor Boys and Nasty Leeds await.
Maybe that’s what they’re afraid of.
So lads, it’s looks you’re going down then to face your fears. Deservedly.
I suppose I must, or should, just shamefully admit that fear and anxiety keep me at times from writing as much or as often or as well as I should. Fear of living up to the marks of cynicism and insightfulness; diligence and the attention to detail I’ve set for myself here. I’m afraid I don’t always live up to those standards in other areas of my life that matter. Sitting down to write actually relieves those fears and anxieties, but generally I’ve been too full of anxiety—job and money related primarily— and deservedly so, to actually write something, anything at all.
So perhaps I’ve been to harsh on Swansea’s lads after all.
But then again, there’s the lesson we all can take from my lads at Borussia Dortmund who have overcome so much more….overcome absolutely unimaginable anxiety and fear to perform at the highest level. That, then is the mark I have to set for myself. It’s an example we can all follow in our lives, and should.
And once we do that, like that book on my bookshelf with the hand-inked rebound cover, fear will strike out. And when fear strikes out, the anxiety tends to shuffle back to the dugout as well.
Now I’m not saying it will all be perfect from now on.
The shadow of the monster still lurks, creeping ominously along the wall.
But the monster itself?? Not so much.